America’s Thanksgiving Parade is going to have a very special meaning for Yuliana Ortiz, a seventh-grade student from Clippert Academy.
As the winner of the 26th Annual Skillman Foundation’s Float Design Contest, she’ll see her design, “The Snowing Mountains,” come to life in a larger-than-life Skillman float that will travel down Woodward in the 91st annual Thanksgiving parade.
The float features a snow-covered house on a hill, kids ice skating, snowmen and trees. It also includes an 80-foot wrap that incorporates the 2017 Honorable Mention winning designs along with other entry favorites.
Ortiz and her family will lead the float.
“We are proud to partner with The Parade Company for another year marked by the inspiring designs and creativity of local Detroit students,” says Tonya Allen, president & CEO of Skillman Foundation. “We were impressed by the amazing submissions by students this year. Yuliana’s designs will be the perfect complement to this year’s parade as it rolls down Woodward Avenue.”
The annual Skillman Foundation’s Float Design Contest provides Detroit students, from grades four through eight, an opportunity to design a float to appear in the parade. Five 2017 honorable mention winners were selected and invited to see their designs on display. The students include:
- Makiyah Degraffenreid – Fisher Upper Magnet, 7th Grade “Circus of Colors”
- Kimberly Orozco – Clippert Academy, 7th Grade “Carousel”
- Khyra Norman – Fisher Upper Magnet, 8th Grade “Thanksgiving is About Giving”
- Jordan Jones – Weston Preparatory Academy, 6th Grade “Dream Neighborhood”
- Monica Britt – Bates Academy, 7th Grade “The Neighborhood Zoo”
“Skillman Foundation’s dedication to Detroit’s students continues to inspire us year after year,” says Tony Michaels, president & CEO of The Parade Company. “We are grateful for our continued partnership and are proud to help them bring Yuliana’s vision to life.”
This year’s parade grand marshals are Big Sean and Carmen Harlan. Big Sean is a Detroit Native and Grammy-nominated musician and songwriter. A supporter of the Detroit community, he is recognized as the youngest recipient of the “Key to the City” presented by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
Harlan is a former WDIV – Local 4 news anchor who served the station for 38 years. She has hosted many events including The America’s Thanksgiving Parade and the Ford Fireworks.
Other parade celebrities this year include:
- Frankie Ballard – American country rocker, singer-songwriter and guitarist from Battle Creek, he’s had three Billboard #1 Country Radio singles, including “Young and Crazy” and “Sunshine and Whiskey”
- Karriem Riggins – Detroit native and Emmy Award-winning producer and drummer. As a musician and producer, Karriem has worked with artists including Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Erykah Badu, Common among others
- Trinitee Stokes – Star of Disney Channel’s “K.C. Undercover” as well as a singer and fashion designer
- Johnny Weir – Three-time U.S. champion, two-time Olympian and World medalist, Weir was recently named one of NBC Sports Groups new lead figure skating broadcast team members for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games
- Liam Fennecken – From the Tony-nominated Broadway production of “School of Rock” the Broadway actor will kick-off the Parade with the song “When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock”
- Yankee Air Museum Rosie the Riveter Tribute Corps – Two original riveters, Clara Doutly & Phyllis Roullier, both born and raised in Detroit, will join this group of women representing Rosie the Riveter, the World War II American poster icon
You can also catch Detroit’s favorite mascots including Hooper, Roary and PAWS. They’ll be riding on the WOMC 104.3s float, “Detroit Rocks.”
And, as always, Santa Claus will arrive in his hand-crafted sleigh is at the end of the parade.
New and expanded floats this year include:
- Art Van Furniture: new float — “Dinosaurs on Parade”
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan: new float — “A Confident Life”
- SVS Vision: new float — “Look Forward”
- Faygo: “Birthday Cake”
- Lear Corporation: float addition — “Connecting the Spirit of Detroit to the World”
The theme of the 91st America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van is “Woodward!! Avenue of Dreams!” It celebrates the beauty of Detroit’s Woodward Avenue as well as the completion of the QLine.
If you can’t get downtown to watch it in person you can catch the parade on WDIV-TV Local 4, including a one-hour national broadcast reaching more than 190 major cities across the country.
News/Talk 760 WJR’s Paul W. Smith will host a live pre-parade show from 6 a.m.- 9:30 a.m. CBS Radio will provide live parade coverage hosted by 104.3 WOMC’s Bobby Mitchell and Stacey DuFord (Mornings WOMC) from 10 a.m. – noon.
America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van is recognized as one of the best Thanksgiving parades in the country by U.S. News & World Report Travel.
For more information, visit theparade.org.